Home U.K Dominic Cummings unmasked: 'Very influential’ role in defence sparked MoD 'friction'

Dominic Cummings unmasked: 'Very influential’ role in defence sparked MoD 'friction'


Mr Cummings departed Downing Street last year after losing a power struggle at the heart of the Government. In his first public appearance since leaving office, the 49-year-old claimed earlier this month he made a “deal” with Mr Johnson before taking on his role, which included doubling the science budget and reforming the “disaster zone” of Whitehall. But former British Army officer and defence adviser to the Government Nicholas Drummond has told Express.co.uk that Mr Cummings’ “passing shot” was in defence.

He said that the former Vote Leave strategist had been “very influential” on some of the decisions announced by Defence Secretary Ben Wallace as part of the recent Defence Review.

In last week’s announcement, the size of the Army was confirmed to be reduced by about 10,000 soldiers, as an “increased deployability and technological advantage” will apparently mean fewer troops will be able to deliver the same results. 

Mr Wallace said there were plans to introduce new capabilities with a focus on artificial intelligence and cyber warfare – and the Trident nuclear system would be updated.

Mr Drummond believes much of these decisions are thanks to Mr Cummings.

He said: “Of course legacy capabilities are important and you have to invest, but you’ve got to look ahead because we can achieve a strong competitive advantage by investing in these things – cyber, artificial intelligence and advanced systems.

“It’s things like loitering munition systems – they are really coming of age and are such a game-changer.

“Cummings is a very clever man, there is no question about that.

“He had some really incredible ideas and was hugely capable – he was someone with a vision, it is rare to have all those qualities in one person.”

But that vision is said to have rubbed some of Britain’s top civil servants up the wrong way.

READ MORE: Boris Johnson could make defence U-turn as US ‘deeply disappointed’ by Army cuts

“When you circumvent that, you create all kinds of problems.

“It was understandable in a way – but Sedwill has done very well for himself.”

Days after Mr Sedwill’s announcement, it was confirmed that Mr Cummings would tour several sensitive MoD sites to prepare for military reforms in the defence review – a move that sparked intense scrutiny over his role.

Mr Cummings plans came as no surprise to some, though.

A glance at his blog, written mainly in the period when he was outside Government, reveals his interest in defence is deep and long-standing.

In the past he has been an advocate of cutting-edge technologies, writing about the potential military applications of robotics and artificial intelligence.


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